TOKYO -- Time-saving technologies like artificial intelligence will perform 90% of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance's administrative work in its sales division starting in fiscal 2018, freeing up employees to help sell more policies.
The effort to work smarter will reduce the insurer's overall workload by a fifth.
Parent company MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings will outline operational reforms in its upcoming medium-term plan through fiscal 2021. Other steps include integrating systems with sister unit Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance, with annual cost savings seen reaching up to 16 billion yen ($141 million).
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance's sales division will use AI for such tasks as responding to inquiries from customers or agents and processing insurance applications. Freed-up workers will support insurance agents' sales activities.
The roles of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance's roughly 15,000 domestic employees are up for review as all divisions make efforts to improve productivity. Aside from sales, workers will be concentrated in claims settlement, product development and other specialized areas that cannot be automated.
Even as Japanese megabanks look to shed employees and locations, insurers aim to work more effectively with the staff they have. Customers can hope for smoother receipt of payouts and services.
Tokio Marine Holdings and Sompo Holdings are putting employees freed from routine administrative work into sales and such new businesses as cyberinsurance. Tokio Marine aims to reduce its workload by 20-30%, while Sompo hopes to halve in 2018 certain work in settling car accident claims.